DNR encourages water safety after multiple drownings in South Georgia

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:57 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:59 PM EDT
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BROOKS CO., Ga. (WALB) -The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says no matter what, use a life jacket in or near water.

They say several recent drownings could’ve been prevented.

The most recent one took place over the weekend in Brooks County.

Drowning incident in Brooks County.
Drowning incident in Brooks County.(WALB)

The pond where the drowning took place is on private property.

Brooks County Sheriff tells us the two victims had permission to go there to fish.

The coroner identified the victims as Willie Griffin and James Mitchell.

Sheriff Mike Dewey says they went fishing around seven Sunday morning.

He says one knew how to swim.

People in the area who did not want to go on camera share, Mitchell frequently fished at the pond and the two were good friends.

The coroner says both were in their mid-60s.

DNR says drownings happen to people of all ages.

Drowning incident in Brooks County.
Drowning incident in Brooks County.(WALB)

“The four drownings that we’ve had so far this year in the last two weeks have all been adults, so that’s something to think about. It could happen to you,” said Quinn Fogle, administrative sergeant.

Fogle tells us with the help of technology, they’re able to see underwater images and find victims.

“Most of the water that we are working, you can’t see. Visibility is low, so a lot of times these events can drag on longer than what we’d like them to,” said Fogle.

Once they see something, a dive team is sent in.

The search and rescue took over six hours, from the time the call came in before seven Sunday evening until the victims were found at two Monday morning, according to the Sheriff.

“What we typically call a life jacket, that’s our number one thing we would push in any instance. Whether you are on a boat or swimming, especially in an unfamiliar area or if you’re struggling swimming. A lot of these events could’ve been prevented if they had one on,” said Fogle.

DNR encourages:

  • Supervision for anyone in a body of water.
  • Wear a life jacket or have a floating device nearby.
  • Don’t panic in the water.
  • Learn to swim.

Although the sheriff says there’s no foul play suspected, this is still an active investigation.

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